Ukraine is officially named Ukrayina, which means "borderland." After Russia, it is the second-largest country in Europe in area.
The country's official language, since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, is Ukrainian.The capital city is Kiev, and the national flag has two broad horizontal bands of blue and yellow, the blue on top representing the sky and the yellow representing fields of wheat.Although most of western Ukraine is agricultural—it is a country that has served as the "bread-basket of Europe"—there are large petroleum and natural gas fields as well.Major industrial products include refined sugar, iron, steel, tractors, cement, glass, paper, and fertilizer.The earliest evidence of human settlement in Ukraine dates back 150,000 years.
Early inhabitants of the territory included the Balkans, the Cimmerians (the first nomadic horsemen to appear in Ukraine in about 1500 to 1000 ).
The direct ancestors of Ukraine's population today were the Slavs.
The Slavs made their way into the Balkans in the early seventh century A. By the middle of the ninth century, however, what was to become known as Kievan Rus was still relatively underdeveloped.
Much of the ensuing progress is attributed to the Varangians (or Vikings or Normans) who visited Rus in the mid-ninth century.
Following the reign of Oleh, Prince Ihor, and then his wife Olha ruled.
Olha took over leadership when her husband, Ihor, was killed and their son Sviatoslav was still too young to rule.